Does Being True to Your Heritage Keep You From Being Successful

I was thinking about a recent post that I did regarding how some women feel about the natural journey.  As I said in that post the friend that I spoke with referred to her hair as being hard to manage (in so many words Nappy) and that is what made her decide not to continue the journey.  As you know if you saw my introduction video, I live in Austin, Texas.  Rhonda Lee, an African-American reporter was always on our local station every weekend.  My husband loved her short natural hair and positively commented on it.  Well, suddenly she was not on the local station anymore and we wondered why.  We initially thought that maybe she had gone on to newer and better things.  Not so!  I recently came across an article on Ms. Lee that said that she had been fired because of her natural hair and a comment defending her natural hair style.  I think that it is really sad to hear that we still have work to do related to how others (in particular other cultures and races) view our natural hair.  I have posted the story for you read.  Please read the story and let me know what you think.

Here is the comment made by a viewer on Facebook

Lee says she first spoke out on the Facebook page of KTBS-TV back in October, when a viewer, Emmitt Vascocu, wrote: “the black lady that does the news is a very nice lady. the only thing is she needs to wear a wig or grow some more hair.”
“i’m not sure if she is a cancer patient,” Vascocu continues, “but still it’s not something myself that i think looks good on tv. what about letting someone a male have waist long hair do the news.what about that [sic].”

Here is Lee’s response to the comment.

Lee replied the same day, according to Journal-isms, with deliberate constraint and courtesy, explaining that she does not in fact have cancer, that black hair was different from European hair, and that diversity is a good thing.

“I am very proud of my African-American ancestry which includes my hair…Showing little girls that being comfortable in the skin and HAIR God gave me is my contribution to society. Little girls (and boys for that matter) need to see that what you look like isn’t a reason to not achieve their goals.”

Lee told the Daily News that she alerted her boss to the exchange, who then urged her to refer any future controversial comments to the station managers, as opposed to answering them herself.


Rhonda Lee (Source: CNN) By: CNN

Could you lose your job for defending yourself on Facebook? Rhonda Lee says she was fired from her job as meteorologist for KTBS-TV in Shreveport, La., because she responded to a racial remark posted by a viewer on the station’s Facebook page.

Lee, who keeps her hair short and natural, received a comment on the page from a viewer who didn’t like her hairstyle. Lee’s response was followed by her termination.

This was the first time Lee says someone has commented on her looks on a Facebook page, but it isn’t the first time that she’s ever heard a comment on her hair.

“I’ve even had a news director once say that my hair was too aggressive for Sacramento, so I wasn’t even allowed to interview at that point” she said. “It’s been an interesting journey with my hair.”

According to KTBS, Lee violated the social media procedure of the station by responding to the viewer’s comment.

Lee said she wasn’t aware of the policy at the time. She simply thought she needed to respond to the remark that was addressed to her in particular.

“Racial comments can be very sensitive,” she says, but she didn’t consider her topic controversial at all.

The experience is similar to that of Wisconsin reporter Jennifer Livingston, who was criticized about her weight by a viewer earlier this year. She responded to it on air and her station rallied around her while others cheered her on.

Livingston’s experience came to mind, Lee said, but her “first response was education.”

“I feel like I was being punished for defending myself,” she said. “Whereas other people are given platforms, I was given a pink slip instead.”


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